The Great Bend City Council will hold a special meeting at 4 p.m. Monday at the City Office, 1209 Williams, to discuss the recently completed compensation study report. The council commissioned the study last year in order see how the city stacked up to other communities in terms of employee salaries following a summer of turmoil last year.
In the end, a draft of the report indicates most city positions were in line with market averages, but shortfalls were found in the Police and Fire departments.
On the agenda for this meeting is also a new salary policy manual. This manual will serve as recommendations for most salary actions, and outlines suggested policies regarding compensation matters. Additionally, it defines categories of employees and how they should be compensated.
The suggested pay ranges for city positions, along with the policy manual, are posted on gbtribune.com.
The council voted in December 2017 to hire Gallagher Benefit Services, a human relations consulting firm from Kansas City, Mo., to complete the study at a cost of $31,725. The firm estimated it to be completed in three months, in time to prepare the city’s 2019 budget.
After this meeting adjourns, the council will meet again at 6:30 p.m. for the regular agenda meeting. That agenda includes: Carpet bids for the Events Center; railroad crossing improvements on Lakin, Forest and Grant; and a report on the 2018 city elections.
“When developing the salary administration program, three objectives were met: internal equity, external competitiveness and ease of administration,” the 22-page study reads. Gallaghar looked at job duties and descriptions, how jobs were grouped and pay rankings, noting that procedures followed in Great Bend are comparable with what is done in other cities.
Then, the firm looked at salaries. To determine the value for the City’s positions, several survey sources were referenced, including:
• Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Wichita Metropolitan Statistical Area, Kansas Wage Survey Wichita Kansas MSA, Kansas Municipal League Salary and Personnel Survey, Towers Watson Compensation Series, internal office reports, and Wage Wizard.
• The following Kansas municipalities were also referenced: Dodge City, El Dorado, Garden City, Hays, Hutchinson, Junction City, Lawrence, Liberal, McPherson, Newton, Park City, Pratt, Salina and Valley Center.
“A statistical analysis was performed on the results to determine what adjustments, if any may be needed to meet the competitive market,” the study reads. The city’s average comparison ratio for base salaries is approximately 95 percent, indicating that the city is paying its associates fairly consistently with the external market.
A comparison ratio is calculated when a specific employee’s current salary divided by the current market rate for that same position.
However, the report notes that this does not include uniformed police officers and fire fighters. And there are some employees paid below the minimum salary range.
To bring all the below-market personnel up to the market level would cost the city about $89,000 per year, the biggest portion of that coming in the Fire Department.
The idea for such a study was born of the Great Bend Police Department controversy last summer and the need to bring police pay rates in line with other communities, Interim City Administrator George Kolb said. But, the council realized it needed to be more extensive and look at all positions.
A divided City Council approved what proved to be a controversial project. Some on the council at the time balked at the price, noting this should have been the job of the newly hired Human Resources Director Randy Keasling.
This marked the first time since 1999 that the city has undergone a comprehensive wage and compensation study.